Recycal Pty Ltd withdraws legal challenge to Environment Protection Notice

​​​​​​Recycal Pty Ltd (Recycal) has abandoned its appeal of the Environment Protection Notice (EPN) issued by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in February 2024.

The EPN requires Recycal to cease operation of the scrap metal shredder and other processing equipment at its Rocherlea site, and to cover or remove a large quantity of shredder floc, a waste by-product of scrap metal shredding.

EPA Director, Wes Ford, said the EPN was issued to protect the Rocherlea community from exposure to lead and other contaminants in shredder floc dust emitted from the Recycal site, while a Human Health Risk Assessment is undertaken.

“On 1 February 2024,  Environment Protection Notice 11589/1 (the EPN) was issued on the company after dust sampling in the Rocherlea area found metal contaminants, including lead, in dust apparently emitted from the facility," Mr Ford said.

“Exposure to lead dust can impact human health, and samples from businesses, a school, and accommodation facilities in the Rocherlea area were found to be similar in composition to shredder floc produced at the Recycal site."

Recycal's permit does not allow it to produce shredder floc without approval of the EPA Director, which has not been given, amidst ongoing issues with the environmental management at the site.  The company had continued to shred scrap metal and produce shredder floc in contravention of the permit until the EPN was issued in February 2024.​

In 2023 Recycal increased its shredding operations, causing an increase in the production of shredder floc waste. Approximately 17,000 cubic metres of shredder floc is stored on the site, most of it in outside stockpiles.

On 14 February 2024 Recycal filed an appeal of the EPN at the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (TASCAT), with a hearing of the matter listed to start on 18 June 2024.  On 12 June 2024, Recycal withdrew the appeal after failed attempts to stay the operation of the EPN and to delay the hearing with an adjournment.

The EPA will continue to monitor and enforce the EPN which will remain in effect until Recycal has suitable measures in place to manage the environmental risks from their activity.

Mr Ford said Recycal has ceased production and processing of shredder floc but made no effort to cover or dispose of the stockpiled material.

“The EPA engaged a contractor to cover the shredder floc with dust-suppressing spray-on binding agent, Total Ground Control Plus.  The binding agent is non-toxic and dyed green to visually indicate where it has been applied."

The EPA has advised Recycal it will seek to recover the costs of the shredder floc covering operation. 

The EPA, in collaboration with Public Health Services, has engaged a consultant to undertake a thorough Human Health Risk Assessment involving additional environmental sampling and analysis of a larger data set to provide a robust basis for public health advice to the community, and regulation of the site into the future. The Human Health Risk Assessment is expected to be finalised in coming months.

​Further information and background

Environment Protection Notice issued to Recycal Pty Ltd | EPA Tasmania

Rocherlea Industrial Area lead exposure event | Tasmanian Department of Health

TASCAT's published decisions on the matter can be found here:

Recycal Pty Ltd v Director, Environment Protection Authority [2024] TASCAT 37
Recycal Pty Ltd v Director, Environment Protection Authority (No.2) [2024] TASCAT 91

Aerial view of site with buildings and piles of material. Piles closest to the building have had green layer applied.

Shredder floc at Recycal Pty Ltd, 256 George Town Road, Rocherlea, covered with binding agent to suppress dust.

Published on: 14/06/2024